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Four-Links – Fleetwood square, Fiat Heritage Hub, Sebring myths, La Vida Vespa

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On Ventura Boulevard there stands a commercial building shaped like a Cadillac Fleetwood. Back in the Eighties, the Los Angeles Times dug into the building’s history and its architect’s intentions.

Although Los Angeles already boasts–or in some cases boasted–architectural oddities such as a giant hot dog, a giant chili bowl, and a giant stack of records, the pink two-story building rising at 19611 Ventura Boulevard in the suburb of Tarzana is the city’s first giant auto.

Some Tarzana residents joke about the building, but its architect, a young Texan with big ideas, defends the design and philosophizes about its meaning.

“Ventura Boulevard is about as American as you can get, and what’s more American than a big luxury car, a Cadillac?” said Lee Oakes in an interview. “It’s symbolic architecture, but abstract.”

(via and the Potomac Region of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club)

* Fiat’s Heritage Hub opened this week in Turin. From the company’s website:

The areas of Officina 81, once a manufacturing workshop, now house a new fluid and creative space where FCA Heritage can completely fulfill its mission, i.e., the preservation, promotion and celebration of the historical inheritance of FCA’s great Italian brands.

The Heritage Hub is set evocatively in a building where visitors can still breathe the industrial history of car making. The original building has been subjected to a careful conservative restoration which respects its industrial nature: the historic mustard and green colours, the cement flooring and the latticework effect of countless metal pillars.

* A number of urban legends have popped up regarding Sebring International Raceway over the years, and the track has a Snopes-style page dedicated to sussing out the truth or fiction behind some of those legends. A sampling:

Christopher Wilder, later to be discovered as the “Beauty Queen” serial killer, drove in the 1983 race. He was killed by police the following year trying to cross the border into Canada.

Victor Sharpe of Tampa drove his Crosley Hot Shot to the Sam Collier 6-hour Memorial race in 1950. He was convinced to loan his car to drivers Ralph Deshon and Fritz Koster. They ended up winning the race, which was run on a handicap formula.

The famous journalist Walter Cronkite drove a Lancia in the 1959 Sebring 12 Hours. On his first practice lap three days before the race, he witnessed a fatal accident when Edwin Lawrence crashed his Maserati at the Hairpin. Lawrence’s family comes to the 12 Hours race every year, camps at the track and holds a private memorial service.

* Five years ago, Marcus started driving his Vespa around the world and documenting his exploits at La Vida Vespa. (via)

Since my teenage years I have been dreaming of a long roadtrip on a Vespa!

In 2014 I made it happen and visited some friends all over Europe on my Vespa P200E from 1979 named Madalina ! I also made a lot of new friends . It was the biggest adventure of my life so far and it cahnged my life ! It’s starting point was in Kempten/Allgäu in South Germany. From there on I travelled 130 days and visited 31 countries of Europe + Gibraltar + Morocco.

This trip was cooler than I had expected and ‘La Vida Vespa’ became a way of life for me. Since then I did a big trip every year and in 2017 I crossed the USA Coast 2 Coast on a Stella 150 2T.

* Morris Bishop shows off some impressive automotive gymnastics with his four-wheel-drive, four-wheel-steer Mobi-One in this 1968 British Pathe video. As Bishop later told Jeroen at Maximum Mini:

I dreamed up a four wheel steering vehicle that would have an inside turning radius of approximately 4 foot. I decided to base the build on BMC 1100 mechanicals and bought a burnt out wreck. Some 6 weeks later it was ready for testing. The first few events were mainly to discover how to drive the beast.